Today’s news:

Kings Theater tops wish list

After a pair of public hearings at which not a single member of the public spoke out, Community Board 14 has affirmed its budget priorities for the next fiscal year.

At the board’s October meeting, which was held at Edward R. Murrow High School, Avenue L and East 17th Street, immediately following the second public hearing, members voted unanimously in favor of the priorities that had previously been enunciated by members of the board’s Budget Committee.

The board’s priorities for Fiscal Year 2010, which begins on July 1, 2009, include the redevelopment of the Loew’s Kings Theater site, and the acquisition of a new site – on Ocean Avenue, near Avenue H – for the 70th Precinct. Both are longtime board priorities.

The list of capital priorities also includes the “development of outdoor recreational space at Bedford Avenue/Campus Road,” and the construction of a new school within the catchment area of CB 14 to “alleviate overcrowding.”

Also on the list are the modernization of the Avenue J, Avenue M and Avenue H stations on the Brighton line by New York City Transit (TA), projects that are part of the agency’s Brighton Seven project, as well as station rehabilitations for Parkside Avenue, Church Avenue and Beverley Road.

The “rehabilitation of the Kings Highway malls” is also included on the board’s list of capital expense priorities.

So too is the installation of catchbasins throughout the board area, as well as the completion of renovations at Kings County Hospital Center; “rehabilitation projects” within Prospect Park; the completion of sidewalk rehabilitation at Newkirk Plaza; the reconstruction of Flatbush Avenue within the board’s catchment area; the reconstruction of Locust Avenue and “abutting streets,” also within the board area; and restoration work within West Midwood and Ditmas Park, including new sidewalks, curbs and lighting.

The list of expense budget priorities includes funding for additional building inspectors, and to “support adequate staffing levels at Kings County and Coney Island Hospital,” as well as funding for a wide range of other services, from day care and Head Start to cultural programs for young people to additional crossing guards.

The list of priorities, noted board Chairperson Alvin Berk, had been revised by board members to reflect projects which had been accomplished and those that had been “supplanted by other priorities that are more important.”

While the board has highlighted its priorities, the likelihood of implementation will be impacted by the city’s fiscal situation, Berk stressed. “The mayor’s executive budget is likely to be a very, very serious budget this year, despite the rainy day fund that Mayor Bloomberg has put aside,” he told board members. “The city’s revenue projections seem to drop every day.”

The lack of public comment on the board’s budget priorities, Berk remarked during the board’s September hearing, “is characteristic. “We typically have very poor response.

“I think it represents New York citizenry’s cynicism about the budget process,” he added. “We go through the motions and we will absolutely advocate for the budget needs of this community, and hopefully some of those will be realized.”

The list of capital and expense budget priorities is an annual compilation, which each of the city’s 59 community boards is required to submit by October 31.

CB 14’s recommendations, according to material distributed with the list, are based upon “observation of physical and service problems within Community District 14, analysis of complaints received by the board’s district office, formal local and borough consultation meetings with city agencies and recommendations submitted by neighborhood and civic groups throughout the Flatbush/Midwood communities.”

The process of compiling priorities began in June when the board sent out to its mailing list a request for comments on possible priorities. The board will receive a response from the city agencies in January, 2009, before the mayor’s executive budget is announced.

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